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The Friday Five- Past in Present (Week of 4/27/12)

Week of 4/27/12- Baby I'm Yours (Irina Dakeva), Excès de Caricature 2007-2012 (Paul Poutre), The power of x (Körner Union/WE ARE Pi), Insect Traps (Markos Kay), Mork (Phil Borst)

This week in The Friday Five, it's all bringing the past to the present, and looking to the future with hope. I take a look at the retro influences behind some modern music-driven videos, get schooled in French politics, then blinded by science, and recover from all this sound and noise by indulging in a moment of feel-good altruism. If you've also been fighting the good fight out there on the visual battlements, then take a break and take a look.

Baby I'm Yours

Irrefutable proof that hand-hewn hard work still has a place in pop culture, Irina Dakeva's video for Breakbot's Baby I'm Yours is as fun to watch as it is impressive to consider. Composited from live-action footage and over 2000 watercolor rotoscoping frames, the year-old music video is a psychedelic, 70s-tinged trip, that compliments the band's retrograde sound. It's that all-too-rare feat; a slickly edited piece of "hello, roto" that doesn't leave listeners cold.

Excès de Caricature 2007-2012

Paul Poutre examines the power of caricature to highlight the political in his recently completed Excès de Caricature 2007-2012, chronicling former French President Sarkozy's 5-year term. It is part of a larger exhibition (called "PIPO") of Poutre's political works that is currently at Le Confort Moderne in Poitiers (France). According to Poutre, the title is taken from a 2007 Sarkozy quote, in which the then-President stated that "he prefers an excess of caricature to an absence of caricature". The political animated short has quite the history , and Poutre does not shy away from a frank and satirical look at Sarkozy's notorious proclivities, scandals, and allegiances. A mixed-media piece, incorporating digital animation, hand-rendered drawing, an photographic collage, the caricature is clear enough that even those unfamiliar with French politics should be able to get the gist.

The power of x

I have an unsurprising confession to make; I am a big, shameless fangirl for all things TED. That's the TED of TEDTalks, the nonprofit organization supporting conferences, an online speaker's series, and awarding prizes to individuals that bring together Technology, Entertainment, and Design (hence, TED). With two annual international gatherings, and a smattering of mini talks around the world, TED sure has a lot going on. For the TEDxSummit a weeklong meetup of TEDx organizers that was held at the Doha Film Institute, TED put their connections to good use and brought in agency WE ARE Pi and director Körner Union to create the conference's intro video, The power of x. The intro is an elegant visual trick that combines dance, mirrors, and editing to create a human kaleidoscope.With a catchy beat by Yasmine Hamdan, this sequence aptly communicates TED's central themes of global community and innovation.

Insect Traps

Markos Kay, aka MRK, loves his science, but still has it in for bugs. In his dazzlingly colorful Insect Traps, Kay simulates the effect of blown-up biomolecular structures on the rampage against a digitally-crafted beetle and fly. What is in fact a fictitious record of findings in a closed environment makes for a real, successful motion graphics experiment. Stay through the whole video to find out what abstractly-represented strains the hapless insects were pitted against.


Rounding out this TF5 is a small touch of whimsy from Phil Borst entitled Mork. A fun mix of visual music shapes with deft character animation timing, you'll find yourself feeling for the little grey ball trapped within the boundaries of a rectangle.The little guy's attempts to escape are a geometric explosion of shapes and movement, all in the muted color palette of an earlier era. Borst showcases a modern art design sensibility that brings to mind Fischinger and Richter, with the polish afforded by After Effects. A motion graphics artist with serious academic taste is one worth keeping an eye on.